A host of studies have shown in recent decades a clear causal link between smoking and a long list of illnesses and harm to various body systems – and of course many deaths. Because physical damages are so clear and severe, and because smoking damage can be prevented by reducing the exposure to smoke and various tobacco products, the Ministry of Health wishes to reduce them as much as possible, even through legislation.
The law to restrict advertising and marketing of tobacco products and restrict smoking in public spaces went into effect in 1983, followed by amendments, extensions and various additions designed to ensure the cleanest air possible for the public and an environment that prevents new smokers from joining the cycle of addiction.
Recently, an even more restrictive amendment to advertising and marketing of smoking and tobacco products came into effect which in fact bans their very presence in the public domain, and consequently – in the public’s space. This is a comprehensive and significant amendment to the law whose provisions will take effect in four stages.
Why was it necessary to amend the law?
Smoking is the number one cause of disease and death. Smoking causes the death of 8,000 men and women every year in Israel, 800 of them from forced smoking. Despite this, we are still surrounded by marketing messages from manufacturers and marketers of smoking products – in stores, on the streets, and on the cigarette packaging itself that serves as advertising space for tobacco brands.
In order to create a surrounding that stops encouraging smoking, the amendment to the law was published, with the intention to significantly reduce the visibility of smoking and tobacco products in the public space in order to protect public health, especially that of teenagers and adolescents.
What changed with the new law?
The new amendment to the law is a comprehensive and significant amendment (even the name of the law has been changed from “Restriction of Advertisement and Marketing of Tobacco Products” to “Prohibition of Advertisement and Restriction of Smoking and Tobacco Products”).
The main changes the amended law has brought into effect are: imposing restrictions and prohibitions in marketing of smoking products even for e-cigarettes and duty free stores, prohibition of any advertisement (other than advertising in the printed press on condition an anti-smoking advertisement appears besides it and even these ads cannot contain images of fruit or vegetables), duty to publish warnings on all smoking product packaging, uniform packaging duty (containing warnings on 65% of the packaging in uniform color and font), and a duty that companies submit reports on the smoking products they sell (components and materials emitted while smoking).
In addition to the smoking ban amendment prohibiting advertising and restricting the marketing of smoking and tobacco products, the law on smoking prevention in public places and exposure to smoking has also been amended, and now all existing restrictions on smoking in a public place apply to all smoking products, including e-cigarettes.
When and how do the changes come into effect?
The provisions of the law will enter into force gradually, in four “phases” spread over a year and a half.
The first phase was on 08.03.19 and included, among other things, application of the law on all smoking products, including e-cigarettes, sweeping bans on advertising smoking products (except in the printed press, under restrictive conditions), restrictions on names and shapes of products that are not smoking products, such as a prohibition to sell T-shirts with a cigarette brand logo, prohibition on marketing e-cigarettes with a concentration above 20 ng/ml, prohibition on marketing packaging fillers that are child proof and expansion of the prohibition to give out smoking products commercially.
The second phase took place on 08.07.19 and included application of the law on duty-free stores and banning the marketing of toys or candy in the form of a cigarette.
Important to know: It is prohibited to manufacture or market or store toys, food products or candy that are cigarette-like.
The third phase began on 08.01.20 and includes two significant changes:
- Package design: Mandatory uniformity of smoking product packaging, without logos and branding (in the color Pantone 448C) and letters in uniform gray font for the brand name. In addition, an increase in the size of warnings on packets of tobacco products from 30% to 65% and in products such as e-cigarettes, liquid refills and papers for rolling cigarettes, mandatory health warnings on 30% of the area.
- At points of sale: Prohibition on displaying smoking products at points of sale (except in a dedicated stores or separate premises).
The significance: Cigarette brands, as well as the colourful cigarette packets, will disappear from view and from the public environment of non-smokers. Children will not be exposed to shelves laden with cigarettes at the corner store and the exposure to cigarette company brands and their products will decrease significantly.
The fourth phase will take place in 01.06.20 and obligate smoking and tobacco importers and manufacturers to submit reports regarding the components in smoking products and the materials emitted from them when used, as well as reports on their advertising expenses.
What products does the law apply to?
The amendment to the law extended its scope and now applies to “smoking products”, i.e. any product that contains tobacco, a vegetable-sourced product intended for smoking, products used for smoking tobacco or a vegetable-sourced material (cigarettes, cigars, hookahs, pipes, cigarette rolling papers, cigarette filters, etc.) and e-cigarettes.
Important to know: The law does not apply to smoking products entered in the pharmacist's registry or marketed under a permit in line with the Pharmacist Ordinance.
Are there instances it is still permissible to advertise smoking products?
The law prohibits any advertising of smoking products aimed at promoting a smoking product, a trademark or brand of a smoking product.
The ban includes indirect advertising, incidental advertising, covert advertisement, unconscious advertisement, sponsorship or promotion.
The law also prohibits smoking products in marketing and promotion events for non-smoking products.
However, the law makes an exception and allows the advertisement of a smoking product, in a printed newspaper only, provided it does not make use of names or images of humans, animals, organs or plants, that the advertisement is not in a newspaper or section dedicated to children or dedicated to health or entertainment, and at least 30% of the ad surface displays a health warning and a “counter-awareness” advertisement posted next to it.
What cigarette does your baby prefer?
Babies who are exposed to smoking during pregnancy are born with nicotine remnants.
For information on rehabilitation workshops, contact your HMO.
The law also permits sending promotional material, in writing only, to those aged 21 and over, who asked to receive it.
What are the restrictions at points of sale?
The amendment to the law also recognizes the effect of presenting smoking products at points of sale.
Therefore, from 08.01.20 smoking products must be concealed (for example, inside a cabinet, drawer or under the counter) so they are not visible.
However, smoking products can be presented for sale in stores that sell only smoking products or smoking products and alcohol, provided they are not visible.
The law also applies to online stores and prohibits images of smoking products.
What are the restrictions on packaging design of smoking products?
The amendment to the law sets conditions for designing packaging of smoking products so that they are less enticing.
Packaging must be of a dark brown color (Pantone 448 C) and include only a health warning, the brand name, name and address of the manufacturer and if the product is imported – name and address of the importer. The details shall appear in the lower part of the package, in uniform font in gray (Pantone Cool Gray 2C) and the maximal font size shall be 14 points.
What to do if I come across a breach of the law?
If you come across any breach of the law, you can report it to the Ministry of Health at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please include as many details as possible (place, address and breach). You can also attach photographs.
Important to know: The mandatory provisions are only part of the law; the information provided herein is not legally binding and is not a substitute for obtaining legal or professional advice.